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snark
25th May 2011, 06:22 PM
Is anyone using something other than iBooks to read ePub books, and if so, what do you think of it? What are its strengths and weaknesses?

I am disappointed with iBooks both for reading, and for organising my library.

For reading, it would be nice if you could adjust the margins - it puts too much white space around the text, especially on the left hand side (in portrait mode). Physical books have this because of the binding, but it's not as if there is an actual binding in the ebook that you need to take in account.

For organising, it OK if you've only got a handful of books, but as soon as you get more than 30 or so, it's a real pain to find anything. It won't display books in any sort of hierarchy except for a sorted list, which is incredibly short-sighted - I mean how hard would it be to copy the way that the iPod app works, and collate books based on Author or Genre? And the Search bar disappears off the top of the screen when you scroll - how stupid is that?

Anyway, I am looking for a decent alternative, so please post with your thoughts.

<edit: spelling>

johnq
25th May 2011, 07:39 PM
Have you used categories in iBooks to help your organisation?

I've tried Kindle, Stanza, eReader and Kobo. I actually prefer iBooks!

mmulhern
25th May 2011, 07:55 PM
I've tried Kindle, Stanza, eReader and Kobo. I actually prefer iBooks!

I actually prefer Stanza.

snark
25th May 2011, 08:06 PM
Have you used categories in iBooks to help your organisation?
Yes I have. They do nothing except give you yet another way of scrolling through a flat list (unless I'm missing some way of collapsing the categories).


I actually prefer Stanza.
Why? I'm interested in the reasons why you think it is better.

mmulhern
25th May 2011, 08:44 PM
With Stanza I'm linked into several publishers and distributors, not just a single source, in Apple. My favorite being Baen's Webscriptions, as well as having ePubs stored locally, and in shared libraries on my network.

I find iBooks interface to be slower and clunkier than Stanza. Apart from that I've been using Stanza on my iPhone every since it was available, well before iBooks came on the scene, and iBooks to me, is still just an also ran.

johnq
26th May 2011, 10:15 AM
I buy books from Amazon (Kindle), Fictionwise (usually pdb), BookonBoard, and others. I usually convert them using Calibre and a couple of plugins to get rid of the DRM to ePub and then I read them on iBooks. Mostly I use iBooks on my iPad although occasionally I use the iPhone (if I'm in a waiting room or the like).

The Collections are flat lists, but you can have many of them and if you really must you can use naming conventions to get quite anal about them. Remember you can also search by Author, Titles, and Categories (like Genre).

snark
26th May 2011, 08:13 PM
The Collections are flat lists, but you can have many of them and if you really must you can use naming conventions to get quite anal about them. Remember you can also search by Author, Titles, and Categories (like Genre).
If Collections translated to iTunes, then I would use them, but the idea of having a completely separate filing system on the iPad seems bizarre. About the only thing I use Collections for is 'books I'm reading now', as I often have two or three in the go at the same time, and it helps me find them again.

To my mind, it just seems like Apple haven't thought beyond users buying more than 10 books.

johnq
27th May 2011, 09:21 AM
I can't quite see why you want collections within iTunes. They do transfer between iPhone and iPad. if you create a collection on an iPad, then sync the same books to an iPhone, the collection is created on the iPhone and the book appears in it. The only purpose I can come up with for having collections on iTunes is to bulk rearrange. That would be nice I accept, however in the scheme of things it seems pretty minor. Do you have other ideas?

I would also suggest that past experiences with other parts of the itunes functionality indicate that this capability is quite likely to eventually turn up.

Regards

John

snark
27th May 2011, 05:30 PM
Do you have other ideas?

Yes.
1. Make iTunes the place for users to catalog and curate their library, and sync piece of metadata to iPad.
2. Support for other useful metadata like series, co-authors, edition, anthologies, etc.
3. Indicator for unread / read / in progress
4. iBooks should display books by author the same way the iPod app displays albums by artist i.e. collapsed hierarchy.
5. ditto for books by genre/category

kyte
28th May 2011, 12:08 PM
Why? I'm interested in the reasons why you think it is better.

in addition to mmulhern's reasons, Stanza categorises by author as well as a flat list, and something it calls "groups" which covers collections and subject. Bookstores available are BooksOn Board, O'Reilly, Smashwords and <shudder> All Romance. Free books are available from Feedbooks, Gutenberg, Random House, Harlequin, Munseys, Bookglutton and PanMcMillan. You can add your own sources as well, the Fictionwise bookshelf and Baen Webscription spring to mind. No doubt there are others.

You can export books to itunes if you want to. I also have been using Stanza for a long time, and switched to ibooks when it came out but found it wanting.

In addition its fully customisable with regards to font, colours and margins

Stanza + Calibre as your on-computer organiser if you need one for books downloaded from other sources, works really well, calibre entries can be edited and calibre will go hunt down book covers and book summaries for you if need be.

iBooks just doesnt do it for me at all.

snark
28th May 2011, 04:44 PM
Thanks kyte - Stanza is a much better reader than iBooks.

Now I just need to decide whether to use Calibre or iTunes to organise my library - Calibre's UI is ...mmm...interesting, no?


<edit> I've taken the plunge into Calibre. Apart from the odd UI, it does exactly what I need: support for series, multiple tags, etc., and even a viewer.

And the wireless sync feature is nice - I guess if you had your computer running all the time, you wouldn't bother synching to iPad, you'd just download on demand.

kyte
29th May 2011, 05:28 AM
Thanks kyte - Stanza is a much better reader than iBooks.

Now I just need to decide whether to use Calibre or iTunes to organise my library - Calibre's UI is ...mmm...interesting, no?


<edit> I've taken the plunge into Calibre. Apart from the odd UI, it does exactly what I need: support for series, multiple tags, etc., and even a viewer.

And the wireless sync feature is nice - I guess if you had your computer running all the time, you wouldn't bother synching to iPad, you'd just download on demand.

Calibre's GUI sucks, not to put too fine a point on it. However it does a really good job organising stuff, and its not so bad once you start really getting into it.. I also like that it talks to a huge variety of devices.. I also have a sony reader, and use calibre for that, too, rather than the utterly awful adobe thing that comes with it.

mmulhern
29th May 2011, 09:07 AM
Kyte, you are extremely kind in your view of Calibre, but as you say, it does the job. I'd much rather use a single tool to do my conversions to ePub. Between Calibre and Stanza, I feel that I've got the best for eBooks on my iPhone/iPad, the only format I don't convert is PDF, where I use GoodReader, which I should have mentioned earlier. With GoodReader I've got an folder system for different types of PDFs, magazines, manuals, clippings, texts.

GoodReader would be my Main app on the iPad.